I have been a member of the Mormon Church for about two years now, and I was introduced to Mormonism by the young man I have been dating for three years. At the time we met (my freshman year in college and his sophomore year), my boyfriend (let’s call him Ray) was actually having a bit of a faith crisis, but as I questioned him more about theMormon Church, he began to bear his testimony in small bits and pieces, and it eventually grew. After about a year of thorough investigating on my part (and a lot of patience on the part of Ray), I joined the Mormon Church. I can honestly say it’s been the most beneficial decision I’ve ever made.
Ray has now decided to go on a mission, and I’m thrilled for him. I think he’ll be a great missionary, and I also think I need some time to spend on my own before I can become someone’s eternal companion. As the time for him to leave draws closer, I find myself concerned that our relationship may distract him from adequately preparing. We are geographically separated at present (because he is student teaching), which has provided us with the opportunity to date other people (and we had agreed that it would be a good idea) but it hasn’t happened. I live in an area that has relatively few Young Single Adults, and the YSA elders from my branch seem to be, well, not interested in me. I also wonder if the fact that Ray and I have dated for so long has branded me as “off-limits.”
I have two questions: 1) How can I help Ray prepare to serve honorably in his mission? and 2) What do you suggest I do in terms of dating other people? Thank you.
Perhaps the power of a good companion, a righteous woman, in promoting the qualities in a young man that prepares him to be a servant of the Lord is not well appreciated . You are probably largely responsible for Ray’s decision to adhere to the principles of Mormonism and to serve the Lord as a missionary. Your insistance on the highest moral integrity and your encouragement that Ray serve as a Mormon missionary will probably be key factors in his continued preparation to be a missionary.
I would be careful, however, about any long-term promises to remain committed to one another. When Ray returns from his mission he will not be the same person he was when he left; neither will you. You might promise to write to him during his mission, and keep your promise, and that would be a good thing. But I would suggest that promises of any permanent relationship would be better deferred until you renew your relationship after his mission, and then see how you feel about each other at that time.
Concerning your second question, if you have had a rather steady relationship with Ray, you have sent a hands-off signal to the rest of the young men. They would not want to encroach on Ray’s territory, and they would also probably fear being rejected if they were to ask you for a date. So if you were to let it be known that you entertain no ideas of a permanent relationship, and participate in the group social functions of your age group, you will no doubt announce your availability to the other young men.